As a woman approaching menopause, I am very familiar with the wide range of human emotions. If left unchecked, mine would range the full gamete, sometimes keeping me on a continual roller coaster ride. Yet no matter our age, feelings and emotions are an integral part of who we are, often determining how we view and respond to everyday life. God is not only aware of our ever-changing feelings, He cares deeply about them. He longs to align them with the truth found in His Word.
Jesus, the visible image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), gives us a glimpse into the heart of God. As recorded in John 11:1-44, a large crowd had gathered to comfort Mary and Martha in the death of their brother Lazarus, Jesus looked on. They’d sent word to Him several days prior that Lazarus was ill. Yet, God detained Him. By the time Jesus arrived, Lazarus was dead. Jesus knew why. His delay was God-ordained for very specific purposes, for God had set the scene for a mighty miracle. Lazarus would live. Jesus knew He would raise him from the dead. As a result, the people’s faith would greatly increase and God would be given great glory. Jesus knew the crowd’s great sorrow would, in just a matter of minutes, be turned to ecstatic joy! Even still, the deep grief of the crowd moved Him with compassion. Jesus wept (Jn. 11:35).
When you weep, God weeps with you, even when He knows that the struggles you are enduring are allowed or designed to increase your faith in Him, bring a future blessings to you or be for a mighty display of His glory is just around the bend.
How can we respond in faith when our feelings scream otherwise? For me, it’s come in the decision to pray, meditate on and proclaim the truth in the Word of God in spite of how I feel. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God.” In context, this verse is speaking about the faith that leads to salvation. Yet once saved, our journey to walk with God is very similar to the path that led us to believe in God for salvation. Our work is to believe (Jn. 6:29). As we pray and profess the Word of God (our part), God comes in and does His part. He turns our unbelief into faith.
There was a time when I felt my love for God growing cold. I don’t remember if there was a specific reason, but I do recall God’s solution. He led me to pray and profess Psalm 42:1-2:
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, O God. My soul thirsts for You, for the living God. When can I come and meet with You?”
I prayed it not because it felt true, but as a request and statement of faith, in spite of my feelings. As I sought what God in His Word calls me to, He answered my prayer. He used that season to draw me into deeper intimacy with Himself.
If you find yourself with feelings that do not align with faith, I encourage you to find passages of Scripture that speak directly to your area of unbelief. Start praying and professing them – even aloud. Take your lie-based thoughts captive and replace them with God’s truth (2 Cor. 10:5). Then, watch Him change your heart and renew your mind. I often say, one of the greatest miracles on earth is when God changes a heart. I praise Him that I’ve been the recipient of that miracle many times.